It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
Fall means football, cooler weather and most important – pumpkin beer. Served, of course, with pumpkin pie.
I am incredibly passionate for anything pumpkin, which is why I typically have a pumpkin pie in my fridge most weeks between September and December. It’s just the right thing to do, in my opinion. So this is why I’m also excited about the yearly release of pumpkin beers, even if it does start in July. However, being the purist I am, I have now officially kicked off the season with my first pumpkin beer, Pumple Drumkin from Cisco Brewers, a new arrival to the Triangle from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (God save it!). It’s got a 84 on Beer Advocate.
*Sidenote: As pumpkin beers tend to be a polarizing style, I should clarify that what I want from a pumpkin beer is full-on pumpkin pie-like flavor. Use Pumking as a reference and go from there. I don’t want a spiced ale, I want an orchestra of sugary, pumpkin goodness in my
Thankfully, Pumple Drumkin met me half way there.
Like most pumpkin beers, Drumkin poured orange-hued with deep pumpkin pie orange sitting on top of pocket of gold at the bottom of my glass. There was barely carbonation, but that didn’t stop the beer from bringing forth the typical aromas you’d find – lots of sweet malt and caramel with an easy pick up of nutmeg and ginger. The pumpkin smell is hiding at the back with just a touch of cinnamon. Clove is knocking at the door but just can’t quite come in.
What I found funny was that with a general lack of intense carbonation, the beer still felt very bubbly and light on my tongue. The taste comes forward with the same pumpkin spices at first and finishes with an almost roasted pumpkin flavor. Sadly for me, that flavor was more of real pumpkin or pumpkin seed than of pumpkin pie. Fine, but not what I want.
While I can’t find easy information about what hops Cisco used, I suspect that balance of pumpkin flavor comes from the hop bitterness mixing with all the other characteristics. I note this because after a few sips of the beer, a bite of the pumpkin pie knocks out most of the pumpkin flavor and really brings an almost hoppy amber ale quality to the beer. This is something I find common for most pumpkin beers, for good or bad.
… and all this also changes as the beer warms. I’ve found that the flavor I’m looking for from my pumpkin beers often takes 20-30 minutes before it’s ready to come out and play, and that was the case with Drumkin. I do think that the relative balance of all the typical pumpkin beer flavors and hops makes this a good version of the style for non-pumpkin beer fans, though.
Hit the jump for my Rate That Beer sheet.